Profile of the Irish band who has helped to save Irish traditional music from disappearing, spreading its sound and popularity across the world for more than four decades.

12 June 2021 | James Porteous | Clipper Media

Profile of the band who has helped to save Irish traditional music from disappearing, spreading its sound and popularity across the world for more than four decades.

Featuring interviews with the current four members – fiddler Sean Keane, vocalist and bodhran player Kevin Conneff, flautist Matt Molloy and band leader Paddy Moloney, who plays pipes and whistle – and tributes from fans including Keith Richards, Sting, Elvis Costello, Sir James Galway and Andrea Corr.

First broadcast on Friday 14th March 2008 at 9 pm on BBC Four.

Folk legends The Chieftains honoured for contribution to music

A ceremony took place at the Dublin Institute of Technology for the diverse band

Traditional Irish music legends The Chieftains have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to music.

Paddy Moloney, Sean Keane, Matt Molloy, Kevin Conneff and Triona Marshall were awarded an honorary doctorate from the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) for their role as cultural ambassadors.

Founding member Moloney told a graduation ceremony for music, drama and media students in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin: “It’s wonderful for The Chieftains to be recognised individually as well as collectively with this kind of tribute.”

Since they were formed more than half a century ago, The Chieftains’ combination of uilleann pipes, fiddle, flute, tin whistle, bodhran and harp have become synonymous with the music and culture of Ireland.

They have collaborated with musicians including The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, James Galway, Bon Iver and Imelda May, and earlier this week they played at a tribute to Irish poet Seamus Heaney at the full-to-capacity Royal Festival Hall in London.

DIT president professor Brian Norton said: “DIT honours The Chieftains for their outstanding contribution to music and their vital role in bringing Irish culture to new audiences around the world.

“We also acknowledge them as standard bearers for graduates assembled here who are about to embark on their own careers in music, drama and media.”